Fleas

Fleas

The most common flea in the United States is the Cat Flea. Besides being a pest with their sometimes-painful bite, fleas also serve as disease vectors and can serve as hosts for parasites such as the tapeworm.

Biology and Habits

Fleas undergo a complete metamorphosis - from egg to larvae to pupa - before they become adults. Let's go through the life cycle of a flea.

The egg is white, oval and about 1/40 of an inch long. Though the eggs are usually dropped on the host, they most often end up in what we refer to as "hot spots." This is typically where the host spends most of its time (pet bedding, carpets).

Larvae are legless, whitish and have a row of spines on each body segment. Larvae typically will not travel far from the original hatch site. Larvae survive on undigested blood left behind by the adult fleas until they molt into the prepupal stage.

Developing pupa construct a protective cocoon to remain in until they are ready to emerge as adults. This stage of development can take as long as 140 days until they are signaled to emerge by such things as temperature, vibration, direct contact with their cocoon or even a flea treatment performed by us.

The adult, the dark bodied pest that most of know, is flat from side to side and has proportionally large femurs for - you guessed it - JUMPING. The complete life cycle of the flea can range from just 16 days to as long as 20 months.

Now that you are well informed about the flea, we will describe what it takes to control them and why.

How to control fleas:

The first thing we will do is put you to work. In most cases we will ask you to vacuum before we arrive, as well as pick up everything in your home that can be easily moved - leave the furniture moving to us! By running the vacuum not only are you getting the dirt off your floor and picking up loose flea eggs and larvae, but you are also helping the pesticide reach all the critters in the carpet by making the fibers stand up. You should discard the vacuum bag after you have finished. We would also ask that you and your pets remain absent until the treatment has had a chance to dry. Floors and "hot spots" are treated directly for control of the adults; we also add a growth regulator to further advance you towards a flea-free home. Growth regulators are designed to prevent fleas that are not yet adults from becoming adults; hence, they can't bite or breed! Sound nice? Finally, although we can't treat your pets or wash their bedding, we will gladly give you advice that suits your needs.